The first TLS Turkey Trot was a big success on Nov 9, 2019, with 50 participants, raising over $1000 for The Spectrum Store and Learning 4 Life Farm. Thanks to everyone who participated!
On Saturday, November 9th, 2019, The Learning Spectrum (TLS) North East - Johnstown hosted a Turkey Trot for autism at 3060 Johnstown-Utica Road, Johnstown, Ohio 43031. Registration began at 10:00 a.m. with race time beginning at 10:30. Proceeds from the Turkey Trot will support the TLS Spectrum Store and Learning 4 Life Farm job training for autism. The event included a 1-mile race that participants can run or walk. A chili cook-off rounded out the event as well as games for all ages including sensory-friendly games and a bounce house.
TLS North East is an Ohio charter school for pre-K through 12th grade students on the autism spectrum located in Johnstown, Ohio, and the TLS Spectrum Store is a new program for TLS students. Learning 4 Life Farm is a newly established transition job training program for teens and young adults on the autism spectrum. After learning about the Farm job training program, Turkey Trot organizer and TLS employee Emily Barnett wanted to help in any way she could. When asked about the event, she said, “I decided to create this event purely out of a passion for my job and the incredible kids we work with. These children inspire me every single day! The Learning 4 Life Farm program is creating a revolutionary opportunity for all those on the spectrum. It is giving these individuals a chance to thrive and gain independence. The Spectrum Store is teaching these kids functional life and money skills and creating confidence in this world and in themselves.”
The Spectrum Store was created to teach students money management skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their life. TLS North East students from all age groups participated in the store program. They learned how to budget and save their coins for more expensive items in the store. Building on important life skills is an ongoing goal for students at TLS.
Setting students up for success after graduation is also a key goal for TLS. Staffed by The Learning Spectrum and overseen by a board of directors, Learning 4 Life Farm is a nonprofit transition program for students on the autism spectrum preparing to graduate high school and venture into the world beyond. Learning 4 Life Farm is creating a 7-acre farm adjacent to TLS North East with gardens and therapy alpacas to provide transition job training for young adults on the autism spectrum.
Proceeds from the TLS Turkey Trot helped maintain the Spectrum Store inventory and moved the Farm closer to breaking ground. Community members were welcomed to attend the event. Admission was $5 per person/$20 per family/team, and included games and activities and optional race and chili cookoff participation.